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10 non-superstars who could shape the 2022 NFL Season (article, Bills related)


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https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2022/6/27/23182118/non-superstars-who-could-shape-2022-nfl-season

 

The 10 Non-Superstars Who Could Shape the 2022 NFL Season

Talent at the top of the roster is required for a Super Bowl run, but so is depth. And these difference-makers could determine whether their teams are playing into January, or watching from home.


By Steven Ruiz  Jun 27, 2022, 6:30am EDT

The list of NFL superstars who really drive their team’s success isn’t terribly long, and virtually every player on that list is a quarterback. But even the best quarterbacks can have a hard time overcoming significant roster deficiencies, as evidenced by the 2021 Chargers, who couldn’t parlay Justin Herbert’s elite season into a playoff spot.


Star talent at the top of the roster is a prerequisite for a Super Bowl run. But a talented second tier can be just as important. With that in mind, we’ve identified 10 non-superstars who could shape their team’s 2022 campaigns and be the difference between a disappointing year and a deep playoff run. Let’s start with the team that has the best odds to win it all in February.



Gabriel Davis, WR, Bills

Davis has been the subject of a heated debate in the fantasy football community over the past month because his average draft position is skyrocketing. Those who support that trend believe his four-touchdown performance against the Chiefs in the playoffs was evidence that he just needed an opportunity after being stuck in a crowded receiver room during his first two NFL seasons. The skeptics seem to think that performance was an aberration, and point to his underwhelming overall production as definitive proof.

 

The Bills didn’t give Davis a ton of snaps last season, and he’s been targeted just over 120 times in two seasons. He also dropped 15.9 percent of his targets in 2021, per Sports Info Solutions, which was the third-worst mark among receivers with at least 50 targets. That’s bad! But this isn’t: Davis finished 28th in the NFL in expected points added per target (and led the Bills), he finished second in explosive play rate, and he led the league in first-down percentage. So even with all the drops, the 23-year-old’s targets were an efficient source of production for Buffalo.


Davis’s film also matches with that conclusion. In that Kansas City game, Davis showed some impressive route-running chops for a man of his stature. The first of his two crunch-time touchdowns came after he dropped a Chiefs cornerback with a quick hesitation move:

https://streamable.com/xrvkd2

On the second, he used his large frame to lean into his defender before cutting in the opposite direction, instantly creating enough separation for Josh Allen to find him for the go-ahead score with 13 seconds left:

https://streamable.com/rs7q0q

Earlier in the game, Davis deployed his speed and beat Juan Thornhill, who ran a 4.4 at the 2019 combine, in a race downfield. Allen took care of the rest:

https://streamable.com/jwu99b


That performance gave Buffalo’s front office enough confidence to move on from Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and elevate Davis to the no. 2 spot in the wide receiver pecking order. But there isn’t a whole lot of depth behind him—and that puts even more pressure on the third-year pro to make the leap.

Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder form a nice pair of slot weapons but can’t play outside in two-receiver sets, something the Bills will use more of now that they have a second tight end in O.J. Howard. And the two perimeter options behind Davis are Khalil Shakir, a fifth-round rookie, and Jake Kumerow, who owns just 23 career catches as he enters his age-30 season.


The Bills will go as far as Allen and the passing game takes them. And if Davis has a down year, they might not have enough to get through a loaded AFC.

 

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13 minutes ago, Kwai San said:

Dunno if I agree with the last statement but we as Bills fans KNOW Gabe is the real deal......

Crowder can play outside some but just some….Shakir is an unknown oh the outside as well….

There was a contingent of fans that wanted Christian Watson at 25 pretty bad. I was one of them. I loved our draft though… we need both actually. If Davis and Diggs stay healthy we’re fine… if not…???

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I think most Bills fans expect Gabe to fully bust out this year. Others seem skeptical...but they haven't watched him for the last two years like we have. I have Gabe on my keeper fantasy team and expect to be able to start him at least as my 3rd WR this year.

 

I was surprised by the drop rate statistic in the article though. For some reason, I don't remember Gabe dropping a lot of passes last year or drops ever being a problem with him (he makes so many tough catches). Maybe I'm just not remembering...or maybe that stat came from PFF 🙄😊.

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8 minutes ago, Freddie's Dead said:

Gabe dropped 1 out of every 6 targets?  That's bull####.  I don't remember Gabe having anywhere near that many drops.  Did I miss something?

 

Without doing a deep dive on it, i bet some of those 'drops' were actually him not getting a second foot down in bounds since it seems like the sideline throw was his stock in trade

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Outside of Davis who I believe is literally on the verge of putting his stamp on the league as an excellent #2, who would be the next nine “second tier” players on the Bills roster that we absolutely need to play well for a championship? Who y’all got?

 

Not in any particular order; and somewhat of a WAG, 

 

Crowder

McKenzie

Singletary

OJ Howard

Elam

Brown

Bates 

Basham 

Epenesa

Rousseau

 

Go Bills!!!

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kwai San said:

Dunno if I agree with the last statement but we as Bills fans KNOW Gabe is the real deal......

Considering Kumerow is his back up it’s a reasonable conclusion to make…. If Davis continues to demonstrate inconsistency throughout the first half of the season, I’ll hold out hope guys like Julio Jones and OBJ remain available to bring in. 

6 minutes ago, Don Otreply said:

Outside of Davis who I believe is literally on the verge of putting his stamp on the league as an excellent #2, who would be the next nine “second tier” players on the Bills roster that we absolutely need to play well for a championship? Who y’all got?

 

Not in any particular order; and somewhat of a WAG, 

 

Crowder

McKenzie

Singletary

OJ Howard

Elam

Brown

Bates 

Basham 

Epenesa

Rousseau

 

Go Bills!!!

 

 

 

Offensive line as a whole. 

53 minutes ago, Freddie's Dead said:

Gabe dropped 1 out of every 6 targets?  That's bull####.  I don't remember Gabe having anywhere near that many drops.  Did I miss something?

Games like Jacksonville and the finale against NYJ come to mind.

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21 minutes ago, ScottLaw said:

Considering Kumerow is his back up it’s a reasonable conclusion to make…. If Davis continues to demonstrate inconsistency throughout the first half of the season, I’ll hold out hope guys like Julio Jones and OBJ remain available to bring in. 

Offensive line as a whole. 

Games like Jacksonville and the finale against NYJ come to mind.

 

The JAX game is still a blur.  The play by play lists two INC to Gabe.  I remember Dropsome Knox re-emerging with four huge drops, each of which would have been a 1st down.  The Jests game is also a blur.

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2 hours ago, Freddie's Dead said:

 

The JAX game is still a blur.  The play by play lists two INC to Gabe.  I remember Dropsome Knox re-emerging with four huge drops, each of which would have been a 1st down.  The Jests game is also a blur.

He had one drop earlier in the Jax game and then another big one that would’ve got them into FG range on the final drive…. The Jets game was probably his worse as a pro IMO. He was bad.
 

Edited by ScottLaw
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Having watched Davis play since his rookie year, I feel really confident in his ability to break out in a big way in 2022.  The guy has just flat-out produced every time he's been asked to do so.  Combine his previous results with an additional year of development, and I think I'm about as confident about Gabe Davis as I have been about anybody in a long time.  

 

This isn't just homerism.  I'm not totally sold on Knox yet (hopeful, just not sold), not interested in resigning Motor, mildly pessimistic about Epenesa, etc.  I'm just fairly confident that Davis is going to be really, really good this year.  

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5 hours ago, Freddie's Dead said:

Gabe dropped 1 out of every 6 targets?  That's bull####.  I don't remember Gabe having anywhere near that many drops.  Did I miss something?

 

4 hours ago, dorquemada said:

 

Without doing a deep dive on it, i bet some of those 'drops' were actually him not getting a second foot down in bounds since it seems like the sideline throw was his stock in trade

 

I'm a big Gabe Davis fan.  I was shocked to see his catch % was only 55.6% last season.  That seems low (and is low compared to top WRs).

 

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/D/DaviGa01.htm

 

 

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Bored on lunch the other night I found out that if you include the playoffs, Davis has 18 TDs in his first two years. Pretty impressive given his limited snaps

Edited by CNY315
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The end of that article is pretty ridiculous, as if every team has 5+ top grade weapons at WR. You really just need a bunch of unique and/or explosive guys after a couple of all-world weapons, and that's exactly what we have. Oh but they only have a 5th round rookie, and Jamison Crowder, and Isaiah McKenzie...oh and Dawson Knox, and Motor, and James Cook. And again this is all assuming Gabe takes a step back and I don't know why anybody would think that. And it glosses over the fact that Diggs is absolutely an outside threat. Uh, one of the best in the league in fact, so it's pretty convenient to not really nail that point home.

 

Gabe is a #2. Legit. Upside is a #1 on another team which is the most concerning thing about him really, gonna need to pay. And even if he gets hurt or fails to meet expectations there are plenty of bodies to pick up the slack.

 

I expect more of these more or less contrarian articles poking holes in our roster as we get closer to the start of the season now that we're near the top of SB favorites. "The Bills have surrounded Josh Allen with 8 weapons, but will that be enough?" or "Are the Bills relying too much on Josh Allen?" etc etc etc

 

I also find it annoying that every fantasy talking head and their mother really likes to discount Jamison Crowder apparently. The guy was a lock for 60-70 catches and a target hog when healthy with the effing Jets. And now he has the best QB in the league. I'm expecting him to blow away Cole's contributions.

Edited by Nelius
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6 hours ago, Nelius said:

The end of that article is pretty ridiculous, as if every team has 5+ top grade weapons at WR. You really just need a bunch of unique and/or explosive guys after a couple of all-world weapons, and that's exactly what we have. Oh but they only have a 5th round rookie, and Jamison Crowder, and Isaiah McKenzie...oh and Dawson Knox, and Motor, and James Cook. And again this is all assuming Gabe takes a step back and I don't know why anybody would think that. And it glosses over the fact that Diggs is absolutely an outside threat. Uh, one of the best in the league in fact, so it's pretty convenient to not really nail that point home.

 

Gabe is a #2. Legit. Upside is a #1 on another team which is the most concerning thing about him really, gonna need to pay. And even if he gets hurt or fails to meet expectations there are plenty of bodies to pick up the slack.

 

I expect more of these more or less contrarian articles poking holes in our roster as we get closer to the start of the season now that we're near the top of SB favorites. "The Bills have surrounded Josh Allen with 8 weapons, but will that be enough?" or "Are the Bills relying too much on Josh Allen?" etc etc etc

 

I also find it annoying that every fantasy talking head and their mother really likes to discount Jamison Crowder apparently. The guy was a lock for 60-70 catches and a target hog when healthy with the effing Jets. And now he has the best QB in the league. I'm expecting him to blow away Cole's contributions.

They have nobody that can play outside if Gabe or Diggs get hurt… so it is a legitimate concern if Davis doesn’t step up or one of the two get hurt.


Think you are slightly overrating the skills players on this team….. I’d put them around the middle of the league as a group on paper.

 

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21 hours ago, billybrew1 said:

Crowder can play outside some but just some….Shakir is an unknown oh the outside as well….

There was a contingent of fans that wanted Christian Watson at 25 pretty bad. I was one of them. I loved our draft though… we need both actually. If Davis and Diggs stay healthy we’re fine… if not…???

I believe Knox himself plays a lot outside.   The Bills will put the 5-best people on the field.

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